Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 30, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: it was negative and nasty today, as florida republicans prepared for the latest vote in this up-and-down primary season. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, judy woodruff is in on the ground in the sunshine state with the latest on the fight for conservative voters. >> woodruff: with only hours to go until the polls open here in the state of florida, the republican contest for president, instead of quieting down, has only grown louder and meaner. >> brown: and stu rothenberg and susan page look ahead at the critical contests to come. >> ifill: then, from brussels, margaret warner reports on how european leaders are attempting
3:01 pm
to tackle the continent's financial crisis. >> brown: ray suarez sits down with doctor hans rosling, whose unique take on global health and development statistics has made him an online sensation. >> can you see that? the green that the american companies are moving towards smaller families. >> ifill: and we talk to author adam johnson about a new novel that offers a rare window into life in north korea. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible
3:02 pm
by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: this was primary eve in florida, in a republican presidential contest that's turned increasingly bitter. as the hours ticked down, the two main contestants in the state kept pounding away at each other. >> brown: it was an upbeat mitt romney at a jacksonville rally this morning but he wasn't letting up on newt gingrich. >> i think the real reason he hasn't done so well connecting with the people of florida is that people actually saw him in those debates and listened to his background and experience and they learned, for instance, that he was paid $1.6 million to be a lobbyist for freddie mac. they said that's not what we want in the white house. >> brown: gingrich returned fire, delivering a sharp critique of romney at a jacksonville rally of his own. >> every time we nominate a
3:03 pm
moderate, we lose. so 1996 we nominated a moderate. bill clinton wins re-election by a big margin. 2008 we nominated a moderate. barack obama wins. why would anybody in the establishment think that a massachusetts moderate, which is a liberal by republican standards, pro abortion, pro gun control, pro tax increase, pro gay rights-- why would they think that he's going to be able to debate barack obama? >> brown: the head of a pro gingrich group, rick tyler, went further calling romney, quote, despicable and disgraceful. with the vitriol flying, late polls gave romney a double-digit lead. a survey of likely republican voters in florida showed him with a 14-point advantage. 43 to 29%. gingrich insisted he was closing the gap, but romney told report hes, quote, you can sense it's coming our way. elsewhere former pennsylvania
3:04 pm
senator rick santorum returned to campaigning today in missouri. he canceled weekend appearances in florida after his three-year-old daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia. and texas congressman ron paul kept his focus on states holding february caucuses where he's expected to perform better. but much of the focus in florida today remained on conservative voters. judy woodruff has been sampling their views leading up to the primary. ♪ o, say can you see? >> woodruff: the crowds who showed up in winter park on short notice for a tea party express bus tour to rally florida voters were smaller than they were a couple of years ago. that's when passionate tea party members helped usher in a powerful fiscally conservative presence in the u.s. congress. >> whoever that candidate may be, stay engaged. >> woodruff: they were enough to give republicans control of the house.
3:05 pm
since then, the movement's reputation has lost popularity. especially among independent and moderate voters who were increasingly the key to electoral success. even so, conservative voters identified with the tea party or not are very much on the minds of the presidential candidates scanning the sunshine state right now for votes. >> we have to have a conservative otherwise we'll be as frustrated with the republican as we were with the democrat. ( applause ) >> please try to convince your friends, the only effective practical conservative vote on tuesday is for newt gingrich. that's just a fact. ( applause ) i need your help. thank you very, very much. >> i'm convinced if we have leaders that will draw on the patriotism of the american people, which is deep and abiding, and if we'll turn to the principles that made us great again that we'll
3:06 pm
overcome those challenges and keep america the shining city on a hill ronald reagan spoke of. i intend to be one of those leaders with your help. >> woodruff: while two-thirds of florida voters say they are conservative, the issues that matter most to them differ greatly from cutting government spending to promoting religious values. >> we're not going away. >> woodruff: despite mitt romney's double-digit lead in all the polls, amy kramer said over the weekend she sees signs of tea party members coalescing around gingrich. >> they want somebody who is going to fight back and stand up and say that we cannot continue down this path. >> woodruff: former corporate executive and tea party founder,, however, believes romney is the likely nominee and worries that christian conservatives may not climb on board if that happens. >> that's the group i worry most about because they have a tendency to stay away sometimes if they don't like a candidate.
3:07 pm
because they are, i would say, more single-issue or more driven by the social and moral issues than they are about the economy or even about wars and so forth. romney is going to have a huge challenge to somehow excite them and bring them on. >> woodruff: romney's spokesman says the campaign believes this gap can be bridged. >> people are going to be looking for somebody who, while they may not share their exact faith, is a person of strong values. so long as the president shares values with the evangelical community, i think that's something that they can accept. >> woodruff: meanwhile romney's appeal to voters here is largely practical. that's enough to satisfy many of the party faithful who say their main concerns are not ideological. >> i just appreciate his experience and knowledge. i wish he were a tad more conservative. but i'll live with his conservatism the way it is.
3:08 pm
i think he will become more conservative after the election when he gets into the white house. i think he'll show his real conservative colors. >> this idea that conservative values need to get back to the white house, how much is that a factor in your vote? >> that is. that is. but the economy. we are so in debt. we have eight grandchildren. is it 15 or 17 trillion? the ms are gone. the millions and the billions. now it's the ts. we have to stop spending. we have to cut, rein in. and i think romney is the one to do it. >> woodruff: for this person, romney's only family values are enough of a draw to get her vote. >> the person who lives closely as to how i would like my children to live or values that i uphold are who i would want to represent me in the white house. >> woodruff: on the other hand
3:09 pm
at a forum sponsored by the nonprofit socially conservative group liberty council we voters who don't see romney as a strong enough pro-life leader. >> at this point he is not someone that i'm considering. as much as he claims to be conservative, i have not seen that from him. again this is too important of an election to just give it to the person that is the most persuasive. >> woodruff: this person is voting for newt gingrich. largely because he worries rom fwhee doesn't offer a conservative enough contrast with the president on issues like health care. >> mitt romney's position is somewhat compromised by his massachusetts problems. even though i trust him to repeal obama care i don't think he'll be as clear and easily able to do it and make the case to the american people because i think obama does have something over him on that. >> woodruff: and this man argues that rick santorum who
3:10 pm
had to skip campaigning here this weekend because his young daughter was hospitalized is the stronger candidate. he says if romney is the nominee, he may vote for president obama. calculating that keeping obama in office, he would create a better chance for electing a staunch conservative in 2016. >> i think if obama serves another four years more people will be inclined to vote for a more conservative candidate. if romney is in there, the people will go right back to the democrat side in two to four years and we'll be right back where we started from. >> woodruff: this woman doesn't go that far. she's leaning santorum and dismisses gingrich. >> i'm not looking for a perfect candidate but i am looking for a faithful candidate. faithful to their marriage. faithful to the lord. faithful to their commitment. in politics. faithful to the decisions they made. not pandering to their audience. >> woodruff: if romney were the nominee? >> i would have to take a step
3:11 pm
of faith and vote for him anyway. >> woodruff: the man who supporting santorum sees a warning sign in voters like these at the church in winter park. he believes their hardened positions are partly an outgrowth of negative campaign ads and rhetoric which have been flying over television, radio and online and sees a serious division within the republican party that may not be resolved any time soon. >> the problem that i see particularly in these last two months is we're seeing a campaign, a republican campaign where reagan's 11th commandment is being violated left and right. thou shalt not attack another republican. they aren't attacking policies. they're attacking the person. it's really gotten ugly. while i believe the voters would like to coalesce around somebody, i don't know how they're going to get unity in the republican party, never mind nationwide. >> woodruff: if romney wins in florida, the growing view is he will still face a drawn-out
3:12 pm
challenge to bring conservative voters under his tent in the general election. >> ifill: judy joins us now from tampa. judy it's so interesting hearing your conversations with these voters. how do they square up with showing these polls with romney running away with the florida vote. >> woodruff: it's a little more complicated than that. when you're out on the road first of all, as you know, gwen, this is a closed primary. it's only registered republicans who can vote. tomorrow. a lot of them have already voted early. they've sent in early ballots. they've requested absentee ballots. the number is something like 600,000 have already been sent in. but you get a more of a mixed picture. sure, there's a lot of support for governor mitt romney. people think he looks presidential. he acts presidential. you heard some of the voters there at his event yesterday in naples telling us that he seems like someone who they can trust. they're a little hesitant at times when you ask them to describe what they like about
3:13 pm
mitt romney. you heard that gentleman say to me, i think he's going to be more conservative once he gets in the white house. but it is interesting. and among the evangelical voters, clearly the tea party more defined conservative voters, there's hesitation. but they have been inundated, gwen, with negative ads, day after day, 16 million dollars worth. from mitt romney and from the super pac, so-called super pac supporting him then another 8 or 9 million or so... i'm sorry, four or five million, the romney folks outspending 4- to-1. so they are covered with negative ads. that's influencing what they're saying and thinking about these canned dalts too. >> ifill: does that mean compared to the other primaries we've covered so far this cycle, is the tone a lot more harsh than it's been, where we've been before?
3:14 pm
>> woodruff: no question, gwen. i mean there were some negatives. we saw some negative mildly critical material by comparison. i was in iowa. you were in new hampshire. you were in south carolina. by contrast in florida, we're hearing "liar" as you heard a moment ago. you're hearing the surrogates for the candidates calling the other candidate "despicable." today newt gingrich described john mccain and bob dole former nominees for president by the republican party as... he in effect said that since they were losers, it was a mistake for mitt romney to trot them out or to run them out as surrogates. i heard john mccain make a pretty angry... have a pretty angry reaction to that. if it's gotten dirty, it's gotten personal. tempers are high. and the interesting thing, gwen, i mean, i noticed yesterday when i was covering governor romney in naples he
3:15 pm
introduced, a crowd of maybe a thousand, 1500 people. he introduced his wife ann and one of his sons and a grand child. he launched right into newt gingrich. he didn't waste any time talking about himself or what he wants to do as president. he lit into newt gingrich over the fannie mae or rather the freddie mac money. and how he made fun of gingrich. the goldilocks comment that he wants it a certain way. when he debates. he then went on to talk about what he wants to do as president. but it was a striking approach to take, i thought. >> ifill: sometimes we invest too much in the idea of who is endorsing whom. but does it make a difference that in the last 24-48 hours we have seen mitt romney win the endorsement of herman cain, the 999 candidate and also some pretty kind words coming from sarah palin, from alaska? saying that accusing romney of bad faith if not exactly endorsing gingrich? >> woodruff: i think all this is a reflection of how ugly
3:16 pm
it's gotten. i'm not sure how much these endorsements matter. surely for voters who are waivering at the last minute, they can make a difference. todd palin, sarah palin's husband is going to be here in florida maybe as early as tonight. newt gingrich announced earlier today he's going around speaking for him around the state. and mitt romney has had a flood of surrogates speaking for him. i think everybody, you know, everybody wants to know how much difference do these surrogates make? for example, jeb bush, the former governor, has not endorsed. the very popular junior republican senator from here, marco rubio whose name is touted as a possible vice presidential pick. he has not endorsed. i think there is some calculating going on. what you see is a multiplier effect. gwen, i want to just put in a word here at the end and make a correction. last friday when i was on the program i made a reference to newt gingrich having been endorsed by an organization called the hispanic leadership
3:17 pm
network. in reality that's a nonprofit group. they don't make endorsements. it was my mistake. i misunderstood something i was told. we don't like to make mistakes. when we do, we like to be up front about what happened. but having said that, there are endorse manys that are happening every day all the time. i'm not sure in the last analysis how much difference they make. >> ifill: well, we're 24 hours away, less than that, from voters actually voting. we'll be talking to you about that tomorrow night. thanks aate lot, judy. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, political analysis from rothenberg and page; the eurozone summit in brussels; new insight into global development trends; and a fictional take on life in north korea. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: syrian government forces pushed back rebellious army units around damascus today in the face of a new diplomatic offensive by the west. president bashar al-assad's forces used tanks to take back suburban districts outside the
3:18 pm
capital. activists said at least 100 people had died in three days of fighting there. meanwhile, russia's foreign ministry announced the syrian regime had agreed to russian- mediated talks. in washington, white house press secretary jay carney said the u.s. would support a political solution. >> intensely discussing with the russians the real deterioration on the ground in syria and the very disturbing rise in violence there. we're discussing with the russians and other partners how best to use all the levers at command of the international community and the united states to press the syrian government to stop its appalling and ultimately ineffective and harmful repression. >> sreenivasan: tomorrow, the u.n. security council will hold talks on a new resolution demanding an end to syria's crackdown on dissent. secretary of state hillary clinton will attend. in a statement today, she warned, "the status quo is unsustainable." occupy washington protesters were on notice today to give up camp sites in two public parks. the national park service ordered protesters to pack their gear after allowing them to camp
3:19 pm
since october. many of the occupiers insisted camping was part of their right to protest. >> this protest is an encampment, an occupation of a park on k-street and sleeping is part of that. i'm not sure kbr they're picking out one small part saying this is not part of your first amendment rights but that's what they're trying to do. >> sreenivasan: the park service had been under pressure from congressional republicans and d.c. city officials to enforce the rule against camping in federal parks. today, a park police spokesman said the issue is not about the right to demonstrate. >> the united states park police and the national park service firmly support ongoing long term first amendment activity. that's what we're trying to address. >> sreenivasan: meanwhile, in oakland, california, city hall reopened after a saturday melee between protesters and police. it started as a peaceful rally
3:20 pm
before some in the crowd broke into the building. a series of photos showed masked protesters burning an american flag, as a woman in the crowd urged them not to do it. outside, police fired tear gas and flash grenades, and demonstrators threw rocks, bottles and metal piping at officers. more than 400 people were arrested. on wall street today, stocks closed slightly lower as investors watched a european summit and waited for news on greece and its debt reduction efforts. the dow jones industrial average lost more than six points to close at 12,653. the nasdaq fell more than four points to close just below 2812. congress has moved a step closer to barring insider trading by lawmakers. supporters in the senate easily won a procedural test today. it set the stage for a final vote later this week. the bill would bar members of congress from using non-public information for personal benefit, or from tipping off others. violators could be subject to prosecution by regulatory agencies and the justice department. severe cold and snow blanketed much of central and eastern europe again today. at least 36 deaths were blamed on the frigid weather that set in last week. temperatures plunged to around minus four degrees fahrenheit in
3:21 pm
some places, and there were hundreds of cases of frostbite. upwards of six feet of snow caused problems across the region, blocking roads and closing schools. many homeowners worked today at digging snow off their rooftops to keep them from caving in. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: we turn back to the subject of presidential politics now, with a closer look at the brutal battle for the republican nomination in florida, and beyond. for that, we are joined by stuart rothenberg of the "rothenberg political report" and "roll call" newspaper, and susan page, washington bureau chief of "u.s.a. today." the electorate has changed so much in this four weeks which we have had. it feels a lot longer than that. from iowa to new hampshire to south carolina. now to florida. how is it different? you were in florida last week, susan. >> for one thing hispanic voters really matter. that hasn't been the case in these republican contests but a lot of cuban americans and other hispanics vote in the florida primary. cuban-america has been a source of support for newt gingrich in a landscape that's been tough for him, they've
3:22 pm
mattered. also the number of seniors 65 and older obviously a big part of the florida electorate. this is a group that is really breaking for mitt romney. half of seniors 65 and older in some of these statewide polls we've seen say they're supporting mitt romney. younger voters more likely to be newt gingrich supporters. >> ifill: newt gingrich by all accounts isn't going to do well tomorrow night. we'll wait and see what the voters say but there are no polls that show him winning. still he says he's in this until the convention. what's his path? >> his path is very conservative voters in these contests that are coming up. those are the people that are still sticking with him. the people who think that mitt romney is a qirby moderate not conservative enough although romney is doing better among conservative voters, the most conservative voters are sticking with newt gingrich. >> ifill: judy's piece said he's a tad less conservative than i want him him to be. >> gingrich needs to broaden his appeal. he's on the defensive and will be on the defensive for an
3:23 pm
extended period here. it's difficult to see. having said that, gwen, we have seen so many twists and turns that i think it's unwise. >> ifill: covering your bets. are you, stu? >> absolutely. >> ifill: susan, you had an interesting survey in usa today. you isolated.... >> 12 states. >> ifill: a dozen states and said this is how it would match up against the person we now know will be the general election nominee depending on whether it's gingrich or romney. how did that look? >> interesting. we were doing this once a month in the 12 battle ground states. the bottom was dropping out for newt gingrich. he lost to barack obama in these 12 states by 14 percentage points. and the survey the previous month he beat barack obama by three percentage poichblts mitt romney was just about tied with barack obama. this is the most powerful argument you can make with republican voters in this contest, which is that i will defeat barack obama and the other guy won't. i think it's the effect of two things.
3:24 pm
it's the effect of trying to appeal to a very conservative, the very conservative voters stu was talking about and getting you out of sync with independent mainstream voters. and the other thing is this barrage of negative ads that have been run against newt gingrich in iowa, in south carolina and now especially in florida. boy, they've really managed to sully his reputation and raise questions about his character and leadership. >> i think the thing here in particular is for a while newt gingrich was saying he was the most electable because he could be on the stage and debate barack obama better than anybody else. apparently in south carolina that argument resonated. what we are now seeing in addition to the gallup poll is we're seeing lots of surveys that show in general election match-ups, the contests are not close when it's obama against santorum or gingrich. but with romney in the race against the president, the contest is close. sometimes romney's a point or two ahead. it's harder, increasingly difficult i think for gingrich
3:25 pm
to make the argument about electability. >> ifill: what puzzles me is right after south carolina you guys were saying that elect had gone away as an issue as least in the exit polls we saw coming out of south carolina. >> the exit polls in south carolina show that gingrich suddenly was seen as a more electable but that was a speed bump for romney. that is not the case now. i think in the polling we've seen. in the south carolina exit polls though, gingrich had managed to diffuse that issue. >> two points. one is, remember, south carolina has more very conservative voters. they were inclined to support gingrich. and the reality is people tend to think that the person they like is the most electable. until there is sufficient data to convince them of that. we're getting that data. i think that was the difference. those are conservatives who wanted to believe newt gingrich was the most electable. >> ifill: let me make a parallel. in 1992 pat buchanan came out of nowhere. he challenged and bloodied the
3:26 pm
eventual nominee george h.w.bush. is this similar? could this happen? could newt gingrich gather enough proportional delegates a few here and there along the way to stay in it into the convention and hurt mitt romney's chances? >> absolutely. i think he'll stay in the race for some time. i think he'll gather delegates and have a speaking role at that convention. it is likely to be at the moment at least he looks pretty unrelenting toward mitt romney. we know that the cases for nominees face a challenge even though they don't get the nomination, the challenge at their convention as george h.w.bush did, as gerald ford did in 1976 or jimmy carter in 1980. these are cases that really hurt the nominee going into the general election. those three examples we just gave all places where that candidate lost. >> i'd agree. but i think there's an interesting opportunity here. will newt gingrich wake up one morning, look in the mirror, newt gingrich the historian, and decide that history will hold him responsible or give
3:27 pm
him credit, depending upon your perspective for barack obama's victory over mitt romney. he made suddenly decide that he made defer, but i know it doesn't look like right way. >> ifill: newt gingrich has another theory. that's if you put his numbers together with rick santorum's numbers that he has enough of the conservative and romney votes that he could still take romney down. rick santorum is in this race even though he doesn't seem to be competing in florida. could you imagine that happening? is there any talk, any common ground that would put that kind of axis together against mitt romney? >> rick santorum says he's in the race... they say it until they pull out. one of the statewide surveys in florida looked at where santorum's vote would go. it was divided between newt gingrich and mitt romney. it did not go overwhelmingly to newt gingrich.
3:28 pm
>> ifill: does mow ten item count this year? it feels like we have stopped and started along the way. no two contests so far have been anything like the one before or the one that followed. >> i think when we do get momentum it will matter. i think that's why it's so dangerous for gingrich and santorum if romney starts to win a series of contests and build up real momentum. but there hasn't been. there's momentum until the next contest and things have changed. the problem is given the way the calendar in february, a series of contests but nothing really big until the end of the month. there may be a growing sense during that month that romney will be the nominee. that would be difficult for the others. >> ifill: six contests in february. five of them romney won in 2008. does that make the path all that much more narrow? >> i think this february calendar where we have a kind of lull works to romney's advantage. there's nothing to stop his momentum. he'll come out of florida with a big victory maybe a double- digit victory. there won't be another contest where gingrich or santorum are
3:29 pm
in a position to defeat him. only one debate scheduled. >> ifill: ron paul. >> or ron paul. well, ron paul is pretty well organized in some of these caucus states: nevada, colorado, maine. i think he'll show well in those states. we continue not to think of ron paul as a potential nominee fairly or not. i think the assessment of political people is that he's a factor for a cause, perhaps not a nominee. so where does romney's momentum coming out of florida get stopped? it will be a whole month of pretty good news for romney. and a problem for newt gingrich i think to get traction again. >> ifill: no debate until the 22nd of february. >> that's been gingrich's one area where he has until the last one or the last couple he has outshined the field. that's difficult. romney has the money. romney will have the momentum. the burden that is on gingrich to turn things around. >> ifill: whatever will we do with our evenings? susan page, stu rotherberg, thank you both very much. >> thank you, gwen.
3:30 pm
>> brown: and now to europe, where, on the streets and in a high-level summit, there's pushback against the bite of austerity measures. margaret warner reports from brussels. >> warner: it's their 17th meeting in two years. trying to tame an economic crisis that threatens toen snare you're europe in another recession. leaders of the 27 e.u. member states arrived in a belgian capital nearly paralyzed by a general strike. the union-led protests targeted austerity measures in belgium and elsewhere in europe. like raising taxes and retirement ages and slashing government spending to reduce deficits and crushing debt. but now with unemployment rates rising and growth rates declining in many countries, e.u. leaders are reaching beyond the idea that austerity alone is the answer. today's summit credo instead was jobs and growth.
3:31 pm
british prime minister david cameron instituted a cuts-only agenda at home, but the british economy has been reeling. >> we need to get really serious about the growth agenda in europe. that means signing trade deals with the fastest-growing parts of the world. it means a serious effort at deregulation particularly for small businesses so they can create the jobs and the growth that we need. >> warner: which may be easier said than done. with large debt loads in many countries the economic arsenals available to european nations are severely depleted. many of the measures discussed today, like funding apprenticeships and training for unemployed youth, would do little to improve growth in the short term. at the same time austerity remains part of the picture. the leaders today signed off on a fiscal pact. first outlined in december. it would impose much stricter budget discipline and potential sanctions on those who sign up. today all 17 eurozone
3:32 pm
countries did. eight of the ten outside the common currency. there was no action on the euro nation in most serious jeopardy: greece. it remains in talks to restructure its private debt, a pre-condition to get the next installment of e.u. bailout funds. and doubts about the greek effort to reform had some leaders echoing a mandate from another era of summits: trust but verify. >> they're not delivering on their own promises when it comes to reform. we're all in this together but we need to ensure that we all do what we promise others. >> warner: what else wasn't agreed today was increasing the size of the european-backed bailout funds for countries that do get in trouble. but that is sure to be on the agenda at the next e.u. summit in march. >> brown: i talked with margaret a short time ago after she filed that report. margaret, the pattern we've watched has been an agreement and a sigh of relief followed by a new realization of just how bad things are.
3:33 pm
where are we now? what kind of urgency do you sense at this meeting? >> warner: there's a great sense of urgency at this meeting. the european leaders know that as you said they seem to try to solve this crisis at every summit and the markets don't see it that way. credit ratings not only of the countries really in trouble but most european countries have been steadily knocked downward. what's worse, which costs them more to borrow, and what's worse is that in this year-and-a-half of budget cuts and tax hikes that growth has really slowed dramatically from about 2% europewide in 2010 to a percentage-and-a-half last year. projected to only be half a percent next year. so they know something has to be done. >> brown: as you said in your report, greece which we've talked about so many times on the program and seemed to be some resolution, well, it's still there right in the midst of all the problems, right? >> warner: right, jeff. i mean, one, these negotiations with the private creditors are grinding on. but the deeper thing that's in the air here is this mistrust of the greek government's
3:34 pm
ability and commitment to actually carry out reforms. there's a so-called troika down there. what they are finding, i'm told, is that even the reforms they do are really more sleight of hand. one example? they're supposed to cut their state work force. well, the people they let go were all within a year of retirement and about to go on generous pensions. that's apparently quite typical. the sense here is that the other political parties are biding their time until the next election. they're not really letting anything happen. i just came from a press conference by angela merkel, the german chancellor, who said all the political parties have to do their part and all these countries, i mean, everybody in greece has to live up to these promises. but there was a story in the financial times last friday that germany was circulating a document to make greece have to agree to have some sort of e.u. super commissioner to
3:35 pm
veto its budget decisions as the price forgetting the next bailout fund. one western diplomat to me, you know, the days of greeks promising to reform and us promising to believe them is over. >> brown: austerity, of course, is still the name of the game. but you're sensing a new emphasis on and a new awareness of the need for growth. tell us what you're hearing and what they're talking about there. >> warner: the europeans realize it's not only that they can't... if they don't start growing, they can never cut their way out of debt. but as one diplomat said to me here, we hear in the u.s. and elsewhere in the world this sense that europeans are so obsessed with austerity that they're about to use austerity measures to kill the patient. they wanted to send a signal really to the world and to investors that they're taking growth seriously. that said, some of the measures they talked about today and that they signed off to use existing funds within the european union to help
3:36 pm
apprentice programs get going or help small and medium sized businesses they're not insignificant. as i said in my piece they aren't really going to be able to jump-start economic growth. >> brown: in the meantime, margaret, still unresolved question -- this goes back to where we started of the urgency here-- the unresolved question of the overall size of any bailout. >> warner: absolutely, jeff. this was actually a huge issue really erupted at the davos world economic forum last week where really the international community ganged up on germany over this. everybody from the french and british finance ministers to christian laguard, head of the i.m.f., to timothy geithner, the u.s. treasury secretary all said the fire wall, as they call it, this sort of bailout fund that is supposed to signal to the world that you can go after italy and spain all you want, we're going to protect them and stand behind them, it's currently set at 550 billion euros, that needs to increase up to 750 billion.
3:37 pm
germany which of course has most of the money is resisting. angela merkel last week in davos and her finance minister made clear they think it's a bailout fund is bigger, then it removes the incentive for the debtor countrys to really do the tough stuff. that was side stepped here today. it will go back to their finance ministers, but that has not really come to terms with. i have to say too that merckel is reflecting her own population, her own public. there was a poll last week by a major german network that said that only three quarters of germans do not want the bailout fund increased. >> brown: margaret, of course, it's an e.u. meeting but it's much watched here in washington and beyond because of the stakes for the u.s. and the global economy. >> warner: absolutely, jeff. think of it this way. the e.u. is the united states' greatest trading partner. a quarter of all u.s. exports
3:38 pm
go to the e.u. and so if the e.u. slips into recession, it stops buying goods. the u.s. is going to have a very hard time boosting its own economic growth. >> brown: margaret warner in brussels, thanks so much. >> warner: thanks, jeff. >> ifill: the man who turned global health and population numbers into an internet sensation. ray suarez has that story. >> suarez: amid the glitter of a black-tie fund-raiser in new york city, a downright unglittery guest made his way into the room. dr. hans rosling, a swedish global health professor was given a humanitarian award at the annual action against hunger gala and was the night's star attraction. >> tonight you'll hear from one of the world's most inspired thinkers. ladies and gentlemen, will you join me in giving hans rosling
3:39 pm
a very warm welcome. ( applause ) >> suarez: over the last five years, this unassuming professor has collected millions of fans around the world with a usually unglitzy topic: statistics. >> 1,000 dollar, 10,000 dollar, 100,000 dollars the difference.... >> suarez: his goal for the evening and the focus of his life's work was to wow his audience and teach it something. he brings to life global health and development statistics, often dense and inaccessible, using a sophisticated visualization software he and his team created. >> because what do we have on the axis? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,, 7, 8. large families, small families. here we have the child mortality. the most tragic marker of the quality of life in a society.
3:40 pm
this is the population. this is china. this is india. look here. low child mortality, small family. high child mortality, large family. what does that mean? here we come. china is very successful. indonesia, look here. this is brazil. this is mexico coming here. this is indonesia. this is bangladesh. bangladesh is catching up with india. they're overtaking india. africa is falling down. now we see some are delayed here but almost the entire world is here. a completely new world. >> suarez: the presentation is one he's been giving audiences at conferences and meetings around the world since he became an internet phenom in 2006. that's when a lecture he gave at the annual ted conference, a who's who gathering of high- tech, design and entertainment leaders, was posted online and quickly went viral. >> my students what they said when they looked upon the
3:41 pm
world and i asked them what do you really think about the world and they said the world is still we anthem. we is the western world anthem is third world. what do you mean with the western world? well, that's long life and small family. third world is short life and large family. so this is what i could display here. i put fertility rates. number of children per woman. 1, 2, 3, 4 up to about 8 children per woman. here i put life expectancy at birth from 30 years in some countries up to 70 years. are the students right? still two types of country? it's china. they're moving against better health. they're improving. or the green that's an american country. they are moving towards smaller families. the yellow one are the rabbit countries. they get larger families. >> suarez: over three million people have watched this talk online. >> all of them moves up into the corner where we have long life and small family. we have a completely new world. ( applause )
3:42 pm
>> suarez: rosling's subsequent ted talks have been watched by millions. i sat down with hans rosling during his recent visit to new york to talk about his method and learn something myself. did it occur to you at some point that these lessons you're teaching had to be taught in a better way for people to understand them? >> yeah, because obviously people do not understand some basic facts. i find holes, deep black holes of ignorance. i try to fill them. there are facts which we know which still... there are actually less children per woman in brazil and thailand than in sweden. but still have a view of the world that is 25 years old. >> suarez: rosling got his start in global health practicing medicine in rural mozambique in the 1970s. while there, he discovered and treated patients with a new
3:43 pm
paralyic disease. he's now chairman of the gap minder instance institute which is dedicated to building a fact-based world view that everyone understands. in addition to his popular animated software which was acquired by google, rosling likes to use other visual aids to help him convey information about the world we live in. >> the world population has.... >> suarez: boxes to explain population growth. and a washing machine to illustrate how the lives and health of poor women and their families are drastically improved by the device. >> there must be 1, 2, 3, 4 billion people more will live in between the poverty line and the airline. they have electricity. but the question is, how many have washing machines? scrutiny of market data and i found that indeed the washing machine has penetrated below the airline and today there's an additional 1 billion people out there who live above the
3:44 pm
wash line. they consume for more than $40 per day. so two billion have access to washing machine and the remaining 5 billion, how do we wash? they wash like this, by hand. it's a hard, time-consuming labor. they want the washing machine. >> suarez: during our conversation, he used lego characters to represent all humankind. >> look here. this is one billion people. one billion people in africa. there's one billion people in europe. one billion people in america. as you know all the rest, 1, 2, 3 and 4 are in asia. this is the world population. we know beyond doubt that there will be two billion more before we level off. those two billion we also know that one will be in africa and one will be in asia.
3:45 pm
any big company looking at this will say, wow, that's where the market is. believe me. there's nothing boring about statistics. >> suarez: in 2010 the bbc aired a documentary about rosling's work called the joy of stats. using high-tech special effects, the production team was able to show his animations in real space. >> so down here is poor and sick and up here is rich and healthy. middle east green and the size of the population. >> suarez: can you almost feel when the lights are going on, when people are saying, aha? >> yes, we have. but it also, you have to check after a year if it's still there. and the old concept of the western world and the developing world is very strong. it's also because people think it's frightening with asia and
3:46 pm
africa here. these are customers. these are partners. and prosperity in the rest of the world means more peace. the u.s. armed forces doesn't have to make so many interventions in the world if we have less conflict. this is a new vision about the world we must have. >> the bubbles are the countries. here you have the fertility rate. >> suarez: rosling says he'll continue talking about important global health sta advertise aches whenever and wherever he can. like many successful entertainers and plenty of great teachers, rosling knows that once he's got your attention, he can pull out something unexpected. >> bring me my sword. >> suarez: in this case another passion: sword swallowing. >> and i will now prove to you that the seemingly impossible is possible by taking this piece of steel, solid steel, and push it down through my body, blood and flesh and prove to you that the seemingly impossible is possible. can i request a moment of
3:47 pm
absolute silence. (drum roll) ( cheers and applause ) >> brown: finally tonight a novelist imagines life inside one of the world's most isolated and potentially dangerous countries. the death last month of north korean dictator king jong iland the naming of his son as successor briefly opened a small window on this secretive and repressive nation but so much remains unknown and unseen. one way in a new work of fiction receiving much acclaim titled the orphan master's son. its author is adam johnson who
3:48 pm
teaches creative writing at stanford university. welcome to you. >> thanks for having me. >> brown: we should start at the obvious question. why a novel set in north korea? >> i became fascinated just as a general reader. i read the stories of people who had made it out of that country. even made it out of the gulags. we're those stories were so captivating to me. it seemed as a writer this was perhaps the most difficult place on earth to be fully human. a place where spontaneity is almost impossible. where confessing your heart and your wants and desires run counter to the state and could get you in trouble. and because i found very few works from north korean writers themselves that they weren't allowed to tell their own stories that i thought this was something that literacy fiction could do, could fill in this void. >> brown: you have to learn what life is like. some of it is from those stories. you also made a trip there. >> i did travel there in 2007.
3:49 pm
it was very difficult to get there. but i did. i was shown everything they wanted me to see. i was minded very closely. but i think there are ways to see through the propaganda. >> brown: what did you see? >> well, i saw a country that was hungry for food, hungry for power, hungry for money certainly. they tried to sell me things at every turn that were all manufactured in china. they didn't know that we had things in the rest of the world that were of much higher quality. i saw a family in a park stealing chestnuts from a public tree which is quite a transgression there and could get them in great trouble. i saw how fur tively the children ran through the branches as the parents gathered them on the ground. >> brown: these are the kinds of details that make it into the book. >> well, the kinds of things that you could never know unless you want there and saw them for yourself. i saw a group of people on the back of a dump truck being transported to the countryside to "volunteer" to help with
3:50 pm
the harvest. i asked my minder, you know, who they were. she said they were just going there to help out. she said everyone must volunteer here. >> brown: if you set aside the unusual setting, which is hard to do, but it's a long kind of twisting tale of one character. part thriller, part romance. this character, jun-do. one episode after another with the regime and then trying to survive the regime. tell us about him and how you sort of found him as the way in your story. >> part of it has to do with my initial interest in narrative. in america the stories we tell ourselves and we tell each other in fiction have to do with individualism. every person here is the center of his or her own story. and our job as people and the characters is to find our own motivations and desires, to overcome conflicts and obstacles towards defining ourselves so that we grow and
3:51 pm
change. but in north korea it's just the opposite. there's one story. it's written by the kim regime. 23 million people are con scripted to be secondary characters. there is a youth, your aptitude towards certain jobs is measured. the rest of your life is dictated whether you'll be a fisherman or a farmer or an opera singer. in that world, to have your own desire desires and motivations, to reveal yourself is counter to your role and can get you in serious trouble. so you have to sense you're yourself. i took a character who starts as a model north korean citizen who does everything he's told no matter how grim or how dark it is. only when he realizes he's truly disposable does he move to be a character that we would know, who takes risks for what he wants. in this case love. >> brown: this story is part of the theme here. there's a line where one character says, where we are from, stories are factual.
3:52 pm
if a farmer is declared a music virtuoso by the state, everyone had better start calling him maestro. >> that's right. >> brown: and the stories one tells, i suppose for a novelist this is an interesting way of thinking about life too. >> it's true. in america, you can reinvent yourself at any turn. if things aren't going well for you in life, everyone says change, become someone different. there it's the off sip. the person can never change. it's the national narrative that matters. >> brown: were you surprised then-- i know this took you a long time to do, a number of years. >> yes. >> brown: did you... were you surprised by where it went, where it took you? or did you have this in mind from the begin something. >> well i tried to keep, you know, king jong il, for instance, out of the book. he's so absurd. we have such a caricature notion of him in the west but as the book progressed and i really understood that this was the soul script writer of an entire nation, that he
3:53 pm
alone was responsible for totalitarianism for the lives of every single person, i had to make him a character in the book. so we get a look at the great script writer himself. but as a writer i had to make him complex, find his weaknesses and strengths, make him round and believable. >> brown: of course the timing of his death you could not have known. but what did you... what was going on in your head when you were watching last month when he died and all this talk about the successor and who that might be and this little window that i mentioned into the society? >> well, he still might come back to life. the one place in the world where that could happen. >> brown: you think so? it's a strange enough society and culture. >> it's a strange enough place that that could happen. it's a land of mysteries, the most mysterious place in the world i believe. even as to his death we don't have his autopsy, his cause of death. we don't know how he died. was he killed by a body guard? we don't know anything about
3:54 pm
it. it's this mysteries that i wanted to fulfill. it was the people i saw all over pyongyang that i wanted to individual yat and to bring to life and i had to use imagination to do it because they're not allowed to tell their own stories. >> brown: all right. the book is the orphan master's son. adam johnson. thanks so much. >> my pleasure. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. republicans in florida headed toward a critical primary tomorrow, with mitt romney and newt gingrich blasting away at each other. the syrian army pushed back rebellious troops around damascus. the opposition claimed at least 100 people had been killed in three days of fighting. and severe cold and snow blanketed much of central and eastern europe. the cold wave was blamed for at least 36 deaths. and to hari sreenivasan, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: we have more from our team in florida. judy filed a blog post on how much people there are or aren't
3:55 pm
paying attention to tomorrows republican primary. ray also wrote a post on why it's too early in the election cycle to focus too much on how latinos are voting. on our world page, we have more from margaret's reporting trip to brussels, including a blog post from her on what belgians think of the country's cost- cutting measures. on our global health page, three experts weigh in on the debate over how much information about the dangerous bird flu virus should be made public. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll have full coverage of the florida primary, including a special report with the results at 11:00 p.m. eastern time. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway.
3:56 pm
>> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
>> this is "bbc world news america." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in, working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key, strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of industries. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news america."

459 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on